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Fitness Concerns For Dundee Boss Hartley


JoeCovenant

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Dundee boss Paul Hartley is sweating on the fitness of five first-team regulars ahead of Kilmarnock on Saturday.

The gaffer is giving Kevin Thomson, James McPake, Kane Hemmings and Paul McGowan every chance of facing the men from East Ayrshire, who the Dark Blues
battered 4-0 on the Premiership opening day at Rugby Park.

News is also awaited on Spanish centre-back Julen Etxabeguren, who was stretchered off 75 minutes into the 1-1 draw with Hamilton at New Douglas Park.

Paul is hopeful that a knock picked up by Hemmings last week can be shaken off in the next 24 hours in order for him to come back into the mix.

However, the striker may have to be content with a place on the bench, even if he is fit.

His place in the side was filled last week by Rhys Healey, with the gaffer singling Cardiff City loanee out for particular praise after his first start for the club.

McGowan, meanwhile, is closing in on a first-team return also. The former Celtic and St Mirren man has not kicked a ball since August — the 1-1 home draw with Inverness.

And it’s fair to say that, so far, this season has yet to take off for the 28-year-old.

Much of that can be put down to the fact the midfielder had little to no gametime in pre-season, due mainly to his bail conditions following a third conviction in the courts.

So, while the rest of the squad were getting up to speed in the sunny climes of Hungary, as well as getting rid of the rust in friendlies, McGowan was sidelined.

However, having had his protective boot removed after a foot injury, McGowan could be in Paul’s thoughts for the weekend visit of Killie.

He said: “Gowser’s fitness is second to none in this squad. He’s had his boot off and is back in training, so we are hopeful he may return soon.

“We will have to wait and see before we make a decision.â€

Elsewhere, experienced duo Thomson and McPake, who were both absent last weekend, have a chance of facing Killie but are currently rated as doubts.

One change the manager is weighing up is whether to bring Nicky Low back into the Dark Blues engine-room.

He came off the bench last week at Hamilton, following two weeks out with a virus.



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You guys that know all about these things ....

Is it jist meh imagination, or are DFC continually beset, with a very high injury rate, in comparison to other teams in the Premiership.

If so, is it because, we have the kind of players...that are continually targeted...simply more prone to injury...poor medical back up ?

Not trying to be negative or controversial. But it does seem, too often, I am reading of restricted selection choice because of injuries.

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